Esteve Rabat has extended his Moto2 championship lead to 22 points after defeating Mika Kallio in the San Marino Grand Prix. The two Marc VDS teammates were utterly dominant with Kallio breaking into an early lead but Rabat’s stronger pace in the second half of the race saw him emerge victorious and tighten his grip on the 2014 title.
Kallio has proven a master of the early escape in recent races and it looked as though that would be a winning tactic again today after the Finn opened up a 1.6s lead in the opening three laps. Rabat was the only challenger though with qualifying stars Thomas Luthi, Maverick Vinales and Dominique Aegerter losing ground behind Johann Zarco and the fast-starting Ricard Cardus.
As the fuel load reduced, Rabat grew stronger and stronger and by half distance, Kallio’s early cushion had disappeared. Esteve opted for a patient approach, waiting either for an opportune moment or an error from his teammate. In the end, it was the latter as Kallio slid wide at Rio on lap eighteen, handing Rabat a lead he would never relinquish.
After such a promising start, Ricard Cardus fell back into the clutches of Zarco and Aegerter, losing out to both on lap four. The Tech 3 rider also slipped behind Vinales and Luthi by half distance but a terrific seventh still looked in the offing until a crash on lap thirteen. Zarco would take the final podium position after breaking away from Aegerter, the Technomag rider later being reeled in by Vinales and Luthi and falling to an eventual sixth.
Franco Morbidelli beat his Italtrans teammate Julian Simon to seventh and was helped in no small part by a bizarre incident involving Jonas Folger. The German was running six seconds clear of the pair before receiving a pit board from race direction to drop a place after exceeding track limits earlier in the Grand Prix. After countless instructions, Jonas followed the order and slotted straight into the middle of the inter-team scrap, handing Morbidelli a vital advantage. To make matters worse for Folger, he was punished still further by a ride-through penalty having taken too long to follow the instruction, dropping all the way out of the points.